for this game

Marquette earns first Big East road win

Feb 2, 2008 - 10:55 PM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Lazar Hayward helped Marquette capture its first Big East Conference road victory of the season.

Hayward scored 19 points to lead the 16th-ranked Golden Eagles to a 75-60 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.

Marquette (16-4, 6-3 Big East) entered the contest having lost its previous three conference road games by an average of 17 points.

Coming off a career-high 23 points in the Golden Eagles' 62-54 victory over South Florida on Tuesday, Hayward hit 6-of-12 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"We're a team that likes to play on the road," Hayward said. "We've only had a couple of bad games. But sometimes you play a good team on the road and you get away from your game plan."

Cincinnati (10-12, 5-5) opened a 22-13 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half on a 3-pointer by Deonta Vaughn.

But that was the Bearcats' final field goal of the half as Marquette outscored them 15-2 over the closing minutes to open a 28-24 lead at the break. Jerel McNeal led the run with a pair of baskets and assisted on a layup by Hayward at the three-minute mark.

Cincinnati's lone points over the final six minutes of the first half came on a pair of free throws by Kenny Belton with 1:57 left.

"Life in times of Big East basketball," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "Come out not ready to play against a ranked team, you will get out hustled. Handling success is not something we have a lot of experience with, and we failed miserably in that category today."

Marquette gradually increased its lead to 48-33 over the first seven minutes of the second half behind Hayward. The sophomore sank a pair of free throws, a jumper and a 3-pointer during the Golden Eagles' 20-9 run.

"Our guys matured in a short period of time," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "When we got down on the road in a couple of games, we wouldn't have a guy step up. We had guys challenge shots, and they held their own in the first half. Our guys held with it."

Hayward picked up his third foul at the 11:15 mark and headed to the bench. In his absence, the Bearcats stormed back with a 10-0 run to pull within 50-46 with 9:12 remaining. Larry Davis and John Williamson keyed the run with a pair of 3-pointers.

Hayward returned and Marquette regained its double-digit lead at 65-55 with 3:30 left and were not seriously challenged the rest of the way.

Ousmane Barro scored a season-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds for Marquette.

"The key is to get off to a fast start and stay with the flow of the game," Barro said. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and my teammates found me."

McNeal finished with 13 points and Wesley Matthews added 11 for the Golden Eagles, who shot 46 percent (26-56) from the field.

Vaughn was the lone Bearcat to crack double figures, scoring 23 points. As a team, Cincinnati shot a paltry 31 percent (19-60) from the floor.

"Today we had a great opportunity that we let slip away because we had the wrong attitude, we got the wrong approach," Cronin said. "We got too big for our britches and we got clipped."